Time for Government to show leadership

It is time for the Government to show leadership and take action on the sound findings in the red meat industry report released today, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“This report – initiated by the farmer-led Meat Industry Excellence group – confirms overcapacity, inefficient transportation and a lack of market co-ordination is costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“This is money desperately needed by farmers so they have enough confidence in the future of their industry to halt the ongoing decline in stock numbers which has led to these inefficiencies.

“Regional towns and meat workers have faced years of uncertainty as profits and job opportunities fall.

“This report offers direction and no concrete answers, but leaves the pathway for central government leadership to bring about the co-ordination and restructuring needed.

“While a Fonterra of the meat industry may be ambitious at this point, it is not unrealistic to expect the two major meat co-operative companies to join forces and create a formidable player in the international meat trading and marketing space.

“New Zealand produces the highest-quality meat protein in the world and we must reach our full potential through better harmonisation from pasture to the palate.

“This invaluable report has only eventuated because of the commitment of the Meat Industry Excellence group and it’s now time for the Government to deliver for its rural constituency,” Damien O’Connor says.